Have I told you lately that I love….Dale’s Pale Ale.

22 Aug

Dale’s Pale Ale is truly a masterful blend. 

After doing some “field research” for an article I am writing on canned beers, I decided I need to praise this old classic once again. I also got the chance to interview Dale Katechis, of Oskar Blues, for the article and he had some really interesting things to say.

We took a trip down memory lane to 2002,when he became the Father of canned craft beer and spawned this tasty brew. He said he knew people would scoff at the idea of putting such a high quality of product in a can. Since then, there are now over 600 craft beers in cans from over 200 breweries.

Here’s some things I learned about  the idea behind canning:

1. Portable – Better for hiking, biking, backpacking. Watch out for the trees and don’t pull a Sonny Bono. And, you can cool down a can in 5 minutes – quick for a break in your outdoor adventures.

Light penetrating bottles causes beer to smell like this guy. Le sigh.

2. Better quality – It’s SCIENCE people. A photochemical reaction occurs when light reaches beer through glass. It degrades the hops and causes it to excrete the same compounds produced by skunks. Hence, skunked beer. Beer in clear and green bottles have a better chance of skunking than brown bottles, but still some light gets through them. Not so in cans.

3. Legal – Some stadiums and outdoor venues don’t allow glass, but you don’t have to duck the cops when you’re rolling around with aluminum.

4. Eco-friendly – Mother Nature will thank you, since aluminum is more widely accepted by recycling facilities and infinitely recyclable.

5. Cheaper – Cans are lighter, so this concept should be pretty straight forward, even if you’re on your 3rd or 6th brew. Lighter cans, less fuel.

6. Practical – Just like driving a Subaru, it may not be pretty, but it’s a damn good package – perfect for the outdoors, trustworthy, and nothing more fancy than you need.

So if you think canned beer is only for Nascar races, above ground pools, and hanging out with people that don’t wear shoes and may be named Billy Bob or Bobby Jo, you’re just wrong. Unless it’s Natty Light in a can, then you are probably right. But as far, as craft beer in cans go, love it or hate it, I don’t care. I’ll be driving my Subaru up a mountain with a sixer of these bad boys.

Cans get cold in just 5 short minutes.

The Bang-For-You-Buck IPA (working girls IPA)

4 Jul

Do you love tasty craft beer but hate the high prices?

I feel like an oldster when I am like “I remember when Dale’s used to be $8.99 for a six-pack.”

But really, am I the only one who thinks the price of craft beer has inflated recently? I mean come on craft breweries…I am not made of money and I certainly am not going back to the ANBUSCH products.

So as I scour the racks for a tasty brew that will not blow my budget, I always come back to this old Imagefavorite: Sweetwater IPA.

Located in Atlanta, Sweetwater was one the pioneering breweries of the South. It slowly tricked town to Northern Florida, where I was going to school at the time (Go Noles!).

So lets talk taste: this beer is a citrusy, hoppy IPA. True to the IPA nature, it’s strong (6.5 ABV) and rings in at $7.99/$8.99. It’s a beautiful orangish/reddish color with a great floral smell and undertones of red grapefruit. This is not a piney or grassy IPA and definitely falls heavy on the fruit spectrum.

Image

If you are made of $$$, try something I like to call “IPA of the gods” – Stone IPA.

If not, stick with Sweetwater. You can thank me later.

Two Beer Trends to Try For Kicks: Spicy and Sour Beers

2 Jun

Although I try and hide it, I have very weird food routines. I love putting salt and vinegar chips in my sandwiches and I dump a bucket of Crystal hot sauce on my eggs first thing in the morning. So it’s no wonder I was drawn to sour and spicy beers and have acid reflux.

Spicy peppers + Beer = ❤

And just as I grow tired of eating the same thing every day, I have grown tired of a lot of my old favorite friends beers (bye  Old Chub). I know…#BeerGirlProblems

I am definitely one to take the challenge of spicy food. So of course I was game for a spicy beer. Think chipotle for a smokey mild indulgence and habanero for a real kick in the boobs.

I tried Rouge Chipotle Ale , which I thought was really tasty. It was smooth, slightly spicy, smoky, dark and sweet. Brewed out of Oregon, Rogue has their stuff together to say the least. The beer is only 5.5%, so I am still not sure why they served it to me in a little dinky glass.

I have also tried Billy’s Chilies, which is pretty good – just enough spice so it’s not overbearing. It’s brewed by Twisted Pine, who does a lot of experiential delicious things. 

If you really want to feel the burn Ghost Face Hillah by Twisted Pine is unbearably hot. If you are from Latin America or have no taste buds, you will probably be fine

For sours, I would recommend Duchesse De Bourgogne or Rodenbach Grand Cru  for a brown, oaky sour that leaves no aftertaste. I am on the search for a lighter sour beer. I had a home brew from Alligator Brewing in Gainesville that used loquats to add the sour taste, without having the age the beer for long.

Craft Beer Week Q&A Craig Birkmaier, Head Brewer at Swamp Head

14 May


Well, American Craft Beer Week is right around the corner and I am smiling like a little kid waiting for Santa to bring the gifts. Only my gifts will be alcoholic and I will be buying them for myself. I interviewed head

Courtesy of Swamp Head Website

brewer of Swamp Head, Craig Birkmaier (who makes delicious IPA’s and Stouts)about his plans for craft beer week, expansion and craft beer in Florida.

I was going to talk to founder Luke Kemper as well, but he was off in the Bahamas getting hitched to longtime GF and Swamp Head bartender, Katie Allen.

I also snagged some pics when I was trespassing no one was looking *sneaky sneaky

So what can you say the importance of craft beer week is?

It’s an opportunity for brewers around the country to get people focused on what we’re doing. It gets people thinking.

Where does Florida fall into the craft beer mix?

We were late to the party, but things are starting to take off. The container law change in 2002 helped craft breweries begin.

And was Gainesville responsive to craft beer?

Our experience has been phenomenal because of people going in and asking for our product.People are willing to spend a little more money for a local, higher quality product.

Microbrewing is taking off – a lot has to do with the tasting rooms. They allow brewers to sell out of their establishment and put revenue back into the brewery. It’s helping us grow faster.

What kind of things are you doing for craft beer week?

We’re doing a people’s choice brew day Wednesday. We solicited requests for recipes. People can send them in online. We’re going to brew the best recipes on a pilot system. We’ll be here to talk to people and show them how it’s made.

So what’s next for Swamp Head?

We’re starting to look for a 30-barrel brewhouse. We have a 10-barrel right now. We brew 100 barrels a week, so we would brew 2 times a day, 5 days a week and more than triple the product. We have a couple of places we are looking for.

Soundslides of Neal Mackowiak, Florida brewer extraordinaire

23 Apr

Hi there,

Thought you may enjoy looking at a soundslide project I did on a local brewer.

I am so looking forward to this pancake beer (for girls)!

You Probably Think This Post Is About You: The (OAKED) Arrogant Bastard

7 Jul

There’s a difference between “collecting” and “hoarding,” I’m told

My girlfriend is out of town — for six month — so I decided to spend this 97 degree Miami day moping in my air-conditioned loft burning Robbie Jr.’s college fund at Total Wine & More in North Beach. Let’s just say, per this Biscayne Mecca, I’ve seen the light (“AND IT’S SOURING MY HEINEKEN” ~ The Heineken brewer who just realized pale green bottles and 3000 miles make his beer taste of piss), and it looks like a square warehouse of wine lined by Bell’s and Belgians and Bastards.

As the Beasties might say, it’s got the ill peripheral.

So 45 minutes, $45 and a retarded lady later — “Honey, is this the eepa you like?” (referring to a Jai Alai) — I’m hauling back a sixer of OAKED Arrogant Bastard, a 4-pack each of La Fin Du Monde and Old Rasputin (because who doesn’t like an imperial Russian in the dead of summer) and a bomber, at the recommendation of bearded hipster wundersage Brian “Like The Amazon Product” Kindle, of Scheinder Weisse.

Longest sentence ever^^^.

Shortest sentence of this post^^^.

Go.

^^^Shortest sentence ever.

ANYWAYS, this is an aggressive ale. You probably won’t like it. I speak, of course, of Stone’s flagship beer, the Arrogant Bastard. I’m reviewing the OAKED version of this big brash brew — i.e. the illegitimate offspring, so to speak, of the super-hopped, slightly malty strong ale from America’s best brewery.

Sublimely self-righteous

This variant, so I’m told, is aged with American oak wood chips. But, truthfully, they don’t come through. Why? Because a nuclear hop missile just went Sum Of All Fears on your ass.

(Beer for Girls: Come for the beer commentary, stay for obscure references to Ben Affleck box office flops.)

That’s generally the issue with the Arrogant Bastard. It won’t stop looking at its abs in the mirror.  The hop bitterness is so intense as to drown out every other flavor. I dunno. Maybe I just don’t have a very discerning palate. But where are these “dark fruits” and “toffee” I hear about? I taste sharp, biting, piney hops and, to a lesser extent, caramel and scotch. Oh boy, and that aftertaste, it lasts longer than, well, Ross from Friends, for one.

Still, this brew has a lot going for it: a beautiful tan amber hue, a chewy mouthfeel, and lacing that puts Peter Parker’s spidey web to shame. Not much of a head (two Peter Dinklage-sized fingers with a healthy poor), but then, looks don’t matter so much when you have the prestige factor. And drinking the Bastard is like driving a Ferrari Mondial, only the beer goes faster.

Gone in 60 seconds

A six-pack goes for (gasp) 22 bucks at the Quick Stop down the street. I got it “discounted” for $16.99. Sooooooo…..

Next round’s on Robbie Jr, future Summa Cum Laude, Brevard County Community College.

Cheers.

Beer Dos and Don’ts!

5 Jul

no, no, no, NO

DON’T use your babies stroller to push your crappy beer around – not okay…ever!

DO use classier carrying mechanisms like those giant purses you have laying around or reusable grocery bags.

DONT play flip cup, beer pong or any beer games with craft beer – This substance is too delectable and expensive to be splashed around in your mom’s basement.

DO play beer pong with Betty white if you ever get the chance. She’s my old person idol.

DONT drink dark beer when it is blazing hot outside. Think Will Ferrell in Anchorman “Milk was a bad choice!” It’s the same principal… something heavy, creamy and dark sitting in your stomach may lead to instant nausea.

DO try a tasty light beer in portable cans (think Mama’s Little Yella Pils)

“Old Rasputin was a bad idea”

DO combine wearing flannel with craft beer. It’s a total trend in the beer bars… even Charlize Theron is doing it..

DONT Use a koozie. If you can’t finish that before it goes warm, I hate your face and you need to reevaluate yourself as person.

You Know He’s the One…

2 Jun

…when his fridge looks like this!

Craft Beer Heaven